Funeral flowers and their hidden meanings



Magnolias convey sweetness, perseverance, dignity and a love of nature, so it’s the perfect flower if the recently deceased was an outdoorsy nature enthusiast. While the white flowers symbolize purity and perfection, the pink ones convey youth and innocence.

Roses are a very significant variety of flower when it comes to funeral arrangements, especially for casket sprays and standing arrangements. one interesting fact is that by including a single rose in a bouquet, you express enduring love for the deceased. Each colour has its own meaning…

White roses evoke purity, reverence, humility and innocence. second only to red, white is the most commonly used colour for funerals. Unlike red roses, they are not associated with passionate emotions, which makes them perfect for expressing condolences, no matter the relationship. White roses are also appropriate for the funeral services of children. For children, they tend to be used alone or mixed with light, pastel-hued flowers.
Red roses symbolize respect, love, and courage. Most commonly used in casket sprays and stands, especially for men. They tend to be chosen by people who have had an intimate relationship with the deceased such as a spouse, lover or very close friend.
Pink roses signify grace, love, elegance and admiration. They are the lighter side of red roses, both in color and symbolic meaning. Pink roses are commonly used for casket sprays and standing arrangements for both women and children.
Dark crimson roses simply evoke grief and sorrow, making them popular in traditional ceremonies, but less so in moderns celebration of life events.
Yellow roses are typically given by friends of the deceased to symbolize strong feelings of friendship.

 Orchids, with their sculptural beauty, and air of exotic mystery, carry a powerful suggestion of love. A particularly unique flower, they are a sign of luxury and refined taste. people choose to send orchids as a sympathy gift because they are a long lasting flower, continuing to bloom long after other arrangements have wilted. For this reason, sending an orchid evokes everlasting love.

Lillies have long symbolized innocence being restored to the soul of the departed. The white Calla Lily is a particularly popular funeral flower, symbolizing purity. the Stargazer variety represents sympathy, meaning it is commonly sent to the family of the recently departed. Oriental lilies symbolize eternal life, making them the perfect option at religious services commemorating the departed.

Camellias convey gratitude and remembrance of the deceased, the red variety evokes love and passion, and are usually used for romantic relationships. Contrastingly, white camellias convey adoration and perfection. They are used to express love in many forms; for example, the love of a parent for a child.

Violets connote humility, faithfulness, and delete love. Sadly it can also be a symbol of death too soon.

Carnations, with may colours to choose from, which color is the most appropriate for your condolences? Pink carnations symbolize a mother’s enduring love which is why they are commonly used for flower arrangements at a mother’s or grandmother’s funeral. Red Carnations, similar to roses, express strong feelings, yearning and true love. While white ones symbolize purity, faithfulness and innocence (as is common of most white flowers).

Lilacs symbolize youthful innocence and confidence. White ones stand for humility and innocence, field lilac symbolize charity, and purple lilac symbolize first love.

Tulips generally mean perfect love. But like many of the flowers above, different colors carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love, while purple symbolizes royalty. The meaning of yellow tulips has evolved from representing hopeless love to now being a common expression for cheerful thoughts and sunshine.

Forget-Me-Not plants symbolize true love and remembrance. And as the name suggests, they are given or used to decorate gifts with the hope the recipient will not forget the giver. This is a true flower of remembrance and is actually is used by some nations as a symbol of those that they have lost at war.

Chrysanthemums - in most cultures they express grieving and sadness, sincerity and loyalty, but in the USA it is used as a symbol of truth.

The Gladiolus embodies strength of character, sincerity, and moral integrity. Gladioli have a tall flower stem, composed of multiple flowers, that can measure up to 4 feet tall. Gladioli are typically used in classic casket or standing sprays for traditional funeral services, as well as over-sized table arrangements.

Want to see some examples? For a visual selection of unique and contemporary funeral flower ideas - check out our Pinterest page

Kind regards

Gina Stevens - Creative Director

About the author | Gina Stevens is a Designer based in Auckland, New Zealand, and is the Owner & Creative Director of Memory Press. Gina studied Design at Victoria University of Wellington, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Massey University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Design with 1st class honours. You can find out more about Gina at

Design submissions | Seen something great out there? Or want to submit your own work? We are always keen to see examples of great funeral stationary. Email us at

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